[the Writing of Kuypers][JanetKuypers.com][Bio][Poems][Prose]


god eyes

It was a stupid point to argue about at 2 a.m., sitting in the lobby of the Las Vegas Hilton listening to the clink and whirr of slot machines and the dropping of tokens onto metal. You believed in God, I did not. Even after two rounds of Sam Adams and three rounds of Bailey’s I knew you wouldn’t change my mind, and I had no desire to change yours.

You told me of a dream you had: in it you and Christian Slater played a game of pool. You won. He looked at his hands and said, “I’ve got a beer in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. I guess this means it’s time for me to seduce someone.” And he walked away. You’re a funny man. You make me laugh. Your brother even noticed that. And you even spoke like Slater, rough, mysterious.

You were the optimist: yes, there is meaning to life. I was doomed to nothingness, meaninglessness. But to me you were the pessimist: you believed you were not capable of creating the power, the passion you had within you. I had control in my life, even if in the end it was all for nothing. You think we are so different. We are not.

It’s now after three and we listen to music: Al Jarreau, Whitney Houston, Billy Ocean, Mariah Carey. Natalie Cole, with her father. “That’s why darling, it’s incredible -” you mouth as you walk toward the washrooms - “that someone so unforgettable -” take a spin, watch me mouth the words with you as you walk away - “think that I am unforgettable too.”

I tell you about the first time I got drunk - I was maybe ten, and asked my sister to make a mixed drink mom had that I liked. She made me a few. So there I was, walking to the neighbor’s house in the summertime, wearing my sister’s seventies zip-up boots, oversized and unzipped, carrying my seventh drink and sticking my tongue out to see the grenadine. You liked my story. You laughed.

Passion is a hard thing to describe. Passion for life. You must know and understand a spirituality behind it. You do your work, the things in life solely because you must - it is you, and you could not exist any other way. It is who you are. It is a feeling beyond mere enjoyment. You said that the spirituality was a God. I said it was my mind. Once again, we lock horns.

All of my life I have seen people espouse beliefs but not follow them. Tell me you’re not like them. Our values are different, but tell me we both have values and will fight to the death for them. I need to know that there are people like that, like me. We are different, but at the core we are the same.We understand all this. I’m grasping straws here as the clock says 3:45 a.m. and the betting odds for football games roll by on the television screen. You don’t gamble. Neither do I. Why must you be so far away? You reminded me that I have a passion in life, that I have to keep fighting. But I get weak and tire of fighting these battles alone. I, the atheist, have no God and have to rely on my will. When I am low, I struggle. You have your God to fall back on, I only have me.

And you looked into my eyes as it approached the morning. You stared. We locked horns once again. I ask you again what you were thinking. And you said, “I see God in your eyes.” Later you said it to me again. I asked you what you meant. You said, “I see a God in your eyes. I see a soul.” Whether what you saw was your God or just me, my passion, well, thank you for finding it. “Good-bye, Ms. Kuypers,” you said when you left for good that day. I said nothing. Good-bye, Mr. Williams, I thought, then I closed the door, walked to the window, started singing unforgettable. I was alone in my hotel room, and the lights from the Stardust, the Frontier, the Riviera were still flashing. I’m not alone. Good-bye, Mr. Williams.

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Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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